Ron Sheetz, VP, RJ Media Magic, Inc.
Ron Sheetz is the video consultant to the top marketers in the field—from thought leader Dan Kennedy to our own host, Michael Jans. Ron strips away the confusion, doubt, and excuses surrounding video production.
Great video content for insurance agencies isn’t hard; it’s just new. Ron knows every reason agents shy away from video, and respond to each in a manner designed to boost your confidence.
- When to use high, medium, and low production video
- How to create connection between you and your viewers
- The story-arc formula that helps your agency attract your best prospects
If you’re wondering how to use video in your agency, this is the masterclass for you. Professionals pay Ron up to $10,000 a day for his insights, and you get his top advice for free in this podcast.
Presented by Agency Revolution, the Connected Insurance Podcast provides weekly opportunities for listeners to dive deep into the trends affecting insurance agents and brokers today and to gain proven strategies and tactics for agency growth. Our hosts facilitate thoughtful panels and 1:1 conversations with a variety of prominent thought leaders, with a focus on how to streamline and drive operational efficiency for your independent agency through the intelligent use of technology.
Michael Jans: Ron Sheetz, delighted to have this conversation with you. How are you?
Ron Sheetz: Excellent. I’m glad to be here. I’m glad to be anywhere.
Michael: [laughs] Even in Cleveland?
Ron: Even in Cleveland, Ohio.
Michael: Or I should say, even in Cleveland? [laughs] Okay. All joking aside, I’m going to ask you to introduce yourself a little bit, and in full disclosure, the listeners may as well know that you and I are members of a mastermind group of marketers. We meet twice a year, you bring video expertise to every single one of our conversations. We meet on the west coast, often Portland or Vancouver BC, and then once a year we tend to meet here in the casita, and warm weather. Usually–
Ron: Yes, I don’t know why I can’t get it to Cleveland.
Michael: Because we take a vote. [laughs]
Ron: Yes, and I’m outnumbered. Kind of like [crosstalk]. I’m outnumbered at home too.
Michael: [laughs] Alrighty. Ron, if you would, tell us a little bit about your background and how you got to be the video guy, and really, one of the fundamental video guys in the direct marketing universe, in Dan Kennedy’s universe, and so on and so forth.
Ron: Again, my name is Ron Sheetz, with a z on the end. Many times people will see it and mistake it for Sheets, but it is Sheetz. I have a colorful and fortis background. As a teenager in high school, and that I got involved in magic and performing magic.
Michael: You’re one of those guys. I didn’t realize that. Okay.
Ron: Yes. Well, I got more. I got into magic, and that got me through high school. What I mean by that is I wasn’t a great academic student, but I was really entrepreneurial. That got me through high school. From magic, I got connected with a mentor who got me into comedy hypnosis. I traveled the country doing comedy hypnosis shows, which is, if you’ve ever seen it, it’s where people get up on stage, they get hypnotized, and then they do all kinds of crazy fun stuff and that. I’ve done that.
Aside from what I do in video now, I have multiple certifications in hypnotherapy, which is to say that most of what I do is psychology and emotional based. That’s really the flavor that I bring to a lot of projects, is really that most everything that people do, decisions that they make in buying or liking or trusting somebody, are more emotional, psychological driven. They’re human behavior driven and that. A lot of that background that I have, I bring into video. I got into video as the media, that’s my deliverable. That’s what people know me for, is the video guy. Unlike a lot of video guys, what I bring is more the sales and marketing side of it.
I’ve been in sales and marketing since teenager. In about 2005-2006, I landed on what we call planet Dan, which was Dan Kennedy’s world. In 2009 or 2010, Dan actually reaches out to me because he was in need for a video AV guy, and we happened to be in the same city. He lives in Cleveland, I live in Cleveland, and he reached out to me. That was back in 2009, 2010, and ever since, I’ve been his go-to guy for all the AV stuff that he does for himself, that he does for his private clients, and you know because we’ve talked about this, but if listeners know that Dan is probably the most sought after direct response copywriter and business consultant in the country, if not on the planet.
Aside from all of the back history that I have and what I’ve done, over the last 10 plus years, I’ve been involved in some of the topmost highly producing marketing and advertising things that people will be familiar with. I’m the kind of person that learns by doing, rather than learns by reading, and then I love to read, but I learn by doing. So, being a student of Dan first, got me to a certain level, but then being a trusted advisor with Dan, got me to an entirely different level, which for my private clients, I’m able to bring all of that to them. Does that make sense? I’m rambling.
Michael: No, no, no. I think this is so important. I actually want to pause on this concept for a moment. My listeners may or may not know Dan Kennedy. My personal history with Dan goes back about 25 years. I was probably one of his earlier clients, and then was extremely active with Dan for a good 15 years, member of his platinum group, and spent a lot of time with Dan, went to Disney World with Dan. I really got to know the inside of his universe really, really intimately.
When I started the Insurtech, I had decisions to make about where I’m just going to put time and resources, and I think perhaps my peers who are Insurtech CEOs realized that hard decisions need to be made, and so I really trimmed back on a lot of anything extraneous. Might have been a mistake, I don’t know, but we ended up scaling. I’m happy with what happened. Frankly, to some extent, I clearly owe the scaling of Agency Revolution to the lessons and principles I learned from Dan, but I wasn’t as active for, and haven’t been for the last 10 years in Dan’s universe.
You and I kind of, we did pass each other for a couple of years because I was still active as you were getting involved. When you say Dan Kennedy, again, probably the most sought after copywriter and direct response marketer on the planet. What does it mean to you? What lessons? What influence? What change did Dan make in your life?
Ron: That’s a great question. That’s a deep question. We don’t have time to get into everything, so I’ll try to summarize as best as I can. I think the things that I learned most from Dan had little to do with outward teachings that other people picked up. A lot of the really in-depth lessons, like you, having been in his mastermind, and I’ll digress for a second, is that I knew of your name for a long time before we actually met personally, because of your involvement in Dan’s mastermind.
Because talking with Dan and private conversations and that, the people I have found have always been the most successful, have been those who have been involved with good masterminds, great masterminds, great mentors of masterminds, and that’s where I learned of you, and having been involved with Dan. I too remember. I guess a lesson for everybody is that I’ve always strived to find and be involved in masterminds because the people that you get involved, and you find a good mastermind is that the people there, you learn so much, not necessarily from the formal stuff, like you and I had a conversation yesterday, and we were masterminding yesterday on the phone.
It’s just something we do. I got some great stuff out of that, but the thing is that–
Michael: By the way, circling back, you and I talked this morning for about 10 minutes and you solved a huge problem for me, so I think that’s the nature of a really good mastermind group.
Ron: Yes, yes. I’m closing with the fact that if you find a mastermind group, I learned, again, one of the things I learned from Dan, is that you want to be– This is my term, I don’t know if it’s a formal term, but I want to be the dumbest guy in the room. I want to be the newbie, the novice in the room, but enough to be able to help and provide, but also to be able to take away because that’s the mastermind principle, is the give and take. If you can’t give, then you’re not valuable to everybody else.
I think that that’s the thing is where I want to be kind of the dumbest guy in the room that can learn the most because when you become the smartest guy in the room, you’re not able to grow. Sorry about that, a little piece on mastermind.
Michael: No, that’s good.
Ron: I’m a huge, huge, huge fan of them. As far as learning from Dan, it really is some very small things, and the fellow from your business, I can’t remember his name. Clement Stone, I think. Small hinges swing big doors.
Michael: Yes, that’s a classic. Yes, big doors swing on small hinges, W. Clement Stone. What was that? Was it The Success System That Never Fails?
Michael: Well, I think that was the name of that book.
Ron: Exactly. Yes. That’s what I’m saying is that really being an observer, a fly on the wall, and really having an open mind to learn. Not only am I working with Dan side by side and being an advisor to him, is that I’m the kind of person that is always in the learning mode. What’s the opportunity? What can I take away? How can I apply? That type of thing. I think that the biggest thing I learned was, is being open-minded, being able to accept new ideas and new opportunities, but also being an implementer. Be able to go forward and do, and get out of your own way and just do.
Really trust in the people that you are mentors, people in your mastermind, and just move forward. Because I don’t remember who told me, I think it was a mentor, but I remember the image of, we can see only so far in the horizon, but what we have to remember is, as we get to that horizon point, we’re going to be able to see further. A lot of us get in our own ways because we don’t think we can see all the way to the destination, and we don’t need to see all the way to the destination. We just need to start moving towards the destination, and everything else will be clear.
If I had to put up– That’s a big thing that I learned from Dan, is get out of your own way, get started, throw it against the wall, go with what sticks. There’s another fellow that I, is a client of mine, and he used to always use the idea of, “What do I need to start with? What do I need to move forward with? If somebody put a gun to my head, and forced me to make a decision, what would it be?” I kind of use that model of, what’s the first thing I need to do? Somebody put a gun to my head, had to make a snap decision, what do I do?
The other thing that I learned from Dan, is a decision, even if it’s the wrong decision, is better than no decision at all. Which goes back to the take action, get moving, and figure it out as you go. We don’t get all the answers. We just need motion. There’s a tremendous amount of value in momentum.
Michael: Motion. Right. What did he call that? The principle of massive action.
Ron: Exactly. Yes, yes.
Michael: Well, we could certainly talk about that a great deal, and I think it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be doing like things all over the place, but I think what the principle does is it gets people who coached through day after day. Tuesday looks like Monday, Wednesday looks like Tuesday, Thursday looks like Wednesday, on and on, and next thing you know, the year is over, or the decade is over, and it’s not all that different. I think one thing that we all probably learned from Dan was that sense of speed. That, to some extent, speed is strategy. If it’s reasonably well managed, and breaking out from the pack. All right, so–
Ron: It sounds odd, but I think that the people on your– Your listeners will identify with this. For me, and most people can’t, but for me, if I’m not feeling uncomfortable, then I’m not comfortable.
Michael: What does that mean? No, no, I get that. I know what that means to me. What does that mean to you?
Ron: That means if I’m not venturing into something that I don’t know how to do or what to do on, if I’m not venturing in that in order to learn and figure it out, then I’m not comfortable because I’m not growing. Something we talked about on the call before, we talked about technology, and everybody has this fear about technology. I’m the kind of person that I got to just like jump in with both feet, and figure it out. I got to figure it out by doing. Got some technology things that I’m working with now that are new to me, that if I sit and try to analyze it all, and I try to figure it all out academically, I’m going to go crazy. I better just like get started.
Michael: Right. There probably is some value. I’m not going to diminish the value of studying and research and so on, and so forth, but I think that all of the best resources on lifelong learning, emphasize the fact that the best learning takes place in doing. That is true in everything, from math, like you’ve got to do the maths, and work through the problems, to marketing or virtually anything. All right. Thank you for sharing your perspective on Dan. I think he’s– We know that he’s having some health problems and real challenge, very serious challenges right now.
I sense that people are probably talking more about Dan than normal, and reflecting on the impact that he made on our lives. Now, Mr. Video, let’s talk about video.
Ron: A subject that scares people, but everybody wants to do.
Michael: Yes, or at least they want to have it done. [laughs] It’s kind of like the classics. Everybody wants to have read them, nobody wants to read them. Video, I’ve seen this over and over again, and more than once. You’re not the first Mr. Video that I’ve interviewed in the series, but you do bring a unique perspective. I think people are waking up to the power of it, and to some of the advantages of it. As a professional copywriter, I would say there is no question, it’s a lot easier to do video than it is to write an eight, 12, or 26 page sales letters. Right? I think.
Ron: Yes, to some degree, I will agree with you.
Michael: Fair enough. Well, at least low production video, we can get it done. Right?
Michael: Okay. When I say low production video, maybe we should talk about that. I think video people put production value in three levels, low production, medium production, high production. High production being expensive, medium production costing a little bit of money, low production just being incredibly cheap and possible because of the tools and technologies that are ubiquitous today.
Ron: Right. To give that some kind of imagery, the low production would be what people see on Facebook. The spontaneous stuff. The medium level production would be something that has a flavor of professionalism to it. Whereas the high level is going to be television quality, could be movie quality. That’s where people don’t necessarily articulate, but that’s kind of where I would categorize those three.
Michael: I think this is important enough. I want to spend a moment on this. There’s a legitimate use for low production, medium production, and high production.
Michael: From your perspective, can you share what the advantages are to low, medium, and high?
Ron: Yes, absolutely. The low level production quality stuff is stuff that, more like this podcast, maybe somebody does as a video cast or so forth. It’s generally driven at spontaneous message, it’s spur of the moment, it’s relationship and rapport building stuff. One of the things that we talked about before we got on the call, is that one of the greatest assets of video is being able to connect with your target audience, and be able to get them to know, like, and love you. That’s where that, we’ll say, low production value stuff is applicable.
It’s the cell phone selfie video that you take, that you get a message out to. It could be a daily message. It could be a daily video blog or something, but it’s really geared at relationship and rapport building. The medium level production–
Michael: It also– I’m going to interrupt you here.
Michael: It has one more advantage. That is it’s cheap and it’s fast.
Ron: Yes, it’s cheap and it’s fast, and it definitely has a short shelf life. Which is a key point that you bring up on when I mention on the other two. Then your medium level production is stuff that can be system based. Can be a consistent message based, and so on and so forth. For example, what we do, to get referrals. Referrals are something that our customers, our clients, do around here. That’s a message that you’re going to use over and over. It may tweak a bit, but you’re going to use that, and it’s consistent.
Another aspect of it would be, let’s say, testimonials or client case studies and so forth. Where you want, not something that’s just captured on somebody’s cell phone, but you want something that’s a little more sit down quality. Is a little more formatted and it’s more structured. Then you get into high level.
Michael: Again, I’m going to pause you because you’re throwing out too many good hamburgers for us. I got to catch one or two. With the medium production, the look and feel is different. It’s more likely going to have, what do you call them? Overlays where there’s maybe it says Michael Jans and maybe underneath it, it says from the casita, or Michael Jans advisories. Maybe there will be a title. Right?
Michael: I know that you could do that with some low production stuff, if you’re really systematized the heck out of it, but a medium production quality is going to look good. Maybe one camera, most likely.
Ron: Yes, one camera. We’ll mostly do one camera, sometimes two. For instance, next week you’re doing a–
Michael: I got a workshop.
Ron: You got a workshop to deliver [crosstalk].
Michael: Workshop on how to hire and manage and get the most out of a marketer in an agency.
Ron: Yes, which is going to have video recording and so forth. That would be something I would consider a medium level production value. You need a professional camera, you need a professional guy behind the camera, who comes in, who puts the right microphone on you. Is able to capture it. It is on a tripod, and it doesn’t have somebody for eight hours holding a cell phone that’s jiggling around. It’s something that you’re going to take and use, it’s going to have some shelf life. It’s going to have some longevity, but you’re going to take it and you’re going to use it in its entirety, you’re going to break it up into pieces. You’re going to have applications for it.
That would be a medium level production value. A high level production value is something that’s going to have intended long term value. Meaning it impacts very critical parts of your business. For instance, one of the things we talked about, that I do work, is the lost sale aspect of it.
Michael: All right. You’ve got a terrific campaign for that.
Ron: Right. This is something that you’re always going to have people who are going to not accept your proposal, they’re not going to buy and whatever. We don’t want them to drop off, but we need them to be part of a very well crafted, very– I don’t want to say the word slick. The very professional message. In that case, because you’re going to use it, and it’s got a high return value in money. That may be another way to look at it, is low production value, is at each step, what is your return on investment for doing that production? If your production– If your return on the investment is high.
Give an example. I did work with a client who is a coach and business mentor to orthodontists. We put together a system that he made available to his members. The production alone, just the production of the programming we produced, was over $80,000, but the return for the 25 or 30 members that were in that, each one of them could be looking at a million dollars in return. So, 80 to $100,000 to produce it, but we’re looking at possibly a $50 million return, it can’t be low quality production value.
It’s got to be professional. It’s got to be done right. The messaging has to be well thought out. What are we communicating? Because that’s the key, and I’m jumping all over, so reguide me if I get too far [crosstalk].
Michael: No, this is good.
Ron: One thing that people overlook heavily in filming a video, at whatever level we just talked about. One of the things they overlook is, what are we communicating in the video? I’m not just saying what are we saying? There was a professor from UCLA in the late ’60s and early ’70s, by the name of Albert Mehrabian. He did a study of what the components of effective communication are. He found, all of us would initially think that what we say to people is going to be what we communicate. What Mehrabian found in his study was that 58% of all communication between people, is nonverbal.
It’s not what’s said, it’s what’s seen, it’s what’s heard. Not necessarily the words or the sound, but what’s interpreted. Give an example, is that if you’re sitting in your office, and you’re filming a video in your office, what’s in the background? What’s on the shelf? What’s on the wall? What’s on your desk? These things are all critical components because you think the person is watching and listening to just you, when in fact, they’re looking at everything else. It’s like when somebody comes into your house for the first time, and you show them around. You’re showing them the bedrooms, but they’re looking at the furniture, and they’re looking at the carpet, and they’re looking at the flooring.
Again, Mehrabian said 58% of the communication is nonverbal. 33% of it is tonality in vocal, is how is it said? How is it perceived? As example, if you have dogs, pets, dogs particularly, and you can do this experiment with your dog. If you walk in and you say to your dog, who’s all happy to see you after a long day that you’ve been away. If you say to your dogs, “You are absolutely the worst dog I’ve ever had in my entire life.” The dog’s going to respond to tonality, not words. Then 7% of that communication is actually what’s said. The thing that gets overlooked a lot when I see videos filmed is, has little to do with how do we look, and what do we communicate.
It has everything else to do with what do we communicate? That’s, I think, the big message to take away, is when you’re filming a video or working with three dimensional media here, you’re working with picture, you’re working with sound, and you’re working with feeling. What is it we’re communicating? All aspects within that video. To give an example, when we go and we film something with Dan Kennedy, and you’ve been to his home as part of his mastermind, you know what that place looks like. I’m not saying it’s bad, but it’s his home office. When we film something in there-
Michael: Down in the basement?
Ron: Down in the basement, we take great effort in, what do we have in the back behind him? What’s on the desk? Again, who’s our audience? What do we want to communicate? Not just necessarily what do we want to say, what do we want them to know and feel, and then be able to do? We take great effort to, what are we putting in the set? What’s on the desk in front of him? Because these are all things that communicate a message.
When I film some stuff in my studio, I have a shelf in the background, and on the shelf it has books, and those books will change based on who my audience is because I know they’re looking at titles. I have awards that I’ve won from marketing and advertising organizations. I’d have those on because people are looking at that.
Michael: Pay attention to the set?
Ron: Pay attention to the set. What are we communicating?
Michael: This is theater?
Ron: That’s exactly, and that’s the power of video. That’s the power of video, is that it is theater, and we are putting on a show.
Michael: Got it. All right. I think we covered what I was going to ask, which is why is video so powerful, but I think we got that from what you’ve just shared, and the ubiquity of video, it’s everywhere now. Because number one, the market responds to it really well, and number two, the ability to– Well, maybe three things. Number one, market responds to video really well, number two, it’s easy to deliver because we have platforms through which we can all communicate easily, and number three, it’s easy to create because of tools that make it easy to create. Especially those low production videos.
Ron: Yes, and I’d add a fourth. I would add a fourth on that. It’s easy for your audience to consume.
Michael: Yes. Okay.
Ron: Meaning, people are used to television. You and I, as old timers, were used to television, but today, people are used to streaming video. It is easy for them to consume, and it communicates to them on a much higher, deeper level. Sight, sound, feeling, emotion, psychology. It’s what makes video so powerful, is because it encompasses as many of the six senses that we have. The only one that it doesn’t is smell.
Michael: [laughs] Okay.
Ron: Smell and taste.
Michael: Yes, all right.
Ron: Yes, it is theater, and that is the all-encompassing word for what we just talked about.
Michael: Okay. Let’s begin to segue into street smart, real world marketing. Obviously, let’s say in the insurance space, billions of dollars is spent on video. Between companies like GEICO, Progressive, others. Some of which are friendly to the Independent Agency Channel, and a lot of which is competitive to the channel. Clearly, every time we see flow in a commercial, number one, that’s a high production video, and number two, it’s designed to have an effect, an emotional effect, some psychological effect on the listeners. If it does, they make money, and they have.
Now, it does seem, Ron, that a local business, and in our case, let’s say a local independent insurance agency, or a niche independent insurance agency, they have advantages that the big players don’t have. That they are– So, in other words, it’s not Flow, and it’s not a gecko, and it’s not an emu, it’s a Bob or Frank or Nancy, real people. It does seem, so I’m presuming, I obviously know a little bit about your business, you work with small to medium businesses primarily, not the GEICOs of the world. So, how–
Ron: [crosstalk] work with a big company.
Michael: Okay. In a competitive, fast changing world, how can the small business, in our case, the independent insurance agency, use video to compete with big players who have budgets that are, from our point of view, virtually limitless?
Ron: The key on that is, is to think about a person. When we work in our own business, we know what our differentiation is, whereas Dan would say, our USP, our Unique Selling Proposition is. We know, instinctively, what that is. Well, you can’t necessarily verbalize it.
Michael: Yes, not everybody is good at verbalizing it, but clearly, one of the distinctions is Bob and Frank and Nancy, they’re right here in the community, on main street, being a part, a living part of this community, and flow actually doesn’t exist as a real person.
Ron: Exactly. That’s where I was headed with this. When we see the progressive commercials with flow, and we see GEICO for– Or the gecko for GEICO, those are softening us out to the companies. However, we know, our clients know that those are not real people, that they’re representatives of the idea of the company, and supposedly the culture of the company. That’s all great, and what it does is it softens us up and makes us familiar. Something that you pointed out to me yesterday was what’s called the mere-exposure effect. With exposure and familiarity with the company.
However, it doesn’t make people cynical about working with that company because, I’ll give you an example, so my State Farm agent retired, and we got passed to somebody else. I didn’t know this person. It made me really, really uncomfortable. I like State Farm, but the person I’m now going to have to be working with, I don’t know them. I got to get to know, and that’s who I am. I got to get to know this person because can I like them? Can I trust them? Are they going to have my interests? That’s where video, for the local Bob, Mary, that’s where that really plays in.
Progressive and GEICO, they’ve done a great job of branding who they are, but the people, the people who are actually paying, investing, they got to be working with somebody in particular. Video for the agent, for the business, is a powerful thing because the corporation has done a great job of setting up and branding their image, and branding their culture, and branding how they’re different. Now, the independent can come in and connect with. Because the public has a positive view of these companies, but they need somebody that they can pick up the phone and call.
When I need help, I can call, and I know I’m going to be calling Michael, and Michael is going to have my back. That’s really where the video can be powerful for the independence, because it picks up from where the corporate got the client to, and now transitions them to the next step, which is, “I’m the guy, I’m the girl that you can trust inside this big company. Because if you have a problem, you don’t want to be calling the big company because you’re going to be playing this phone game. You want to come directly to me.” That’s where video can really be powerful for the independence, it’s that they can connect and build rapport, relationship, know, like and trust. Just based on continually doing it, they become a friend. Whether they buy or not, but over a period of time, relatively quick, they become a friend. When the chips are down and so forth, and their current agent lets them down and just fumbles the ball, guess what? I’m calling Michael because something about the guy I like, I trust. I’m going to go there.
Michael: Let’s take a moment, just 30 seconds, I’ll do 30 seconds on the mere-exposure effect. I think it’ll make sense when everybody hears it. The principal or the lesson of mere-exposure is that, “Mere-exposure, nothing else, nothing added, nothing taken away, repeated exposure to and an object or an organism creates unconsciously, deeply psychologically creates motion towards knowing like and trust. It does that.” This has been so deeply tested by scientists and researchers that virtually any living organism when introduced to a previously unknown or foreign object, at first, responds with at least some element of fear or distancing. Then through mere exposure, then exposed, again and again, moves from fear or anxiety to neutral like, “Okay. Now I can walk by it, there’s no emotion.” Then as the mere-exposure continues, it hit remarkably moves from neutrality to curiosity and ultimately to fondness and affection with nothing else, nothing added, nothing taken away.
Ron: That’s a good point.
Michael: A number of mere exposure is it seems to me that there is a curve that the trend line on that is somewhere between 10 and 20 mere exposures, creates the sweet spot in the psychology of the observer. It’s a really powerful psychological principle that really every business person needs to be aware of and needs to use effectively. The beauty of video is that– Well, you see the human face and you hear the human voice and those carry and transmit so much emotion, then it’s just a very powerful medium.
Ron: Yes. So for the independent, let’s take and apply that directly to the video. Let’s say the independent, your listeners, they have people to reach they want to connect with. They go and they film what we call low-quality production value. It’s the selfies, it’s the spontaneous message. They record a series of those and they don’t have to be planned out. I mean they could be tied into a message of topical, what happened during the democratic debate or what’s happening in the world, just a message that ties back it back, it doesn’t even have to be pitch related.
They make a series of these things and they get them out to their targeted people consistently time and time again which is exposure. We’re not giving exposure to who we are. They’re able to see us, they’re able to hear us, they’re able to look into our eyes and that’s again a key point. The eyes are the window to the soul, is that can I look into that person’s eyes and do I believe they’re telling me the truth? That’s the mere-exposure effect. If we do that consistently, we don’t have to be pitching them or selling them, we’re just going after like and trust.
I remember my first mentor in sales. He told me, “The first sale you have to make to a client is yourself. You have to sell them on you first because if they don’t accept you they’re not buying what you got in your hand.” There’s a case with just the mere-exposure effect and video, if we just do- we don’t need to be pitching in something all the time, we just want to like us, we want them to be comfortable.
With enough exposure in video to them, we can do this and it could be on Facebook where we’re driving people, we get them to subscribe to our Facebook page, or we could be selling it, sending it to them in an email with a link to the video, we could be sending it via text with a link, but the idea is, we’re using video to create and carry on a conversation with people. Now it’s one-sided far side, but we’re reaching them and we’re carrying on this conversation and that’s where they can use video, and video is powerful because it’s like us being together having a conversation, it’s the closest thing they are used to that.
Michael: Well, and the memory of it is so much like the memory of actually being in the same room because in your memory, you see them and you hear them. So there is a lot of intimacy. We’re getting a master class here on video. So my sense is, because I hear this from clients, that nobody is really questioning the power of video. However, perhaps what they are questioning is their ability to get it done and maybe it’s confusion, not sure what to do next, not sure how to do it without screwing it up and making a terrible mistake, there’s some discomfort. There are natural objections.
I think everybody has some real personal objections that again range from, “I don’t want to be in front of a camera,” to, “I just don’t know what to do,” or, “I don’t know how to do it right.” With small business owners, let’s start with the easiest which is low production video, how do you convince him to do it?
Ron: Well, I’m going to knock off some of those one at a time or I’m going to address them one at a time.
Michael: Let’s do it.
Ron: The first one is, I don’t want to be in front of the camera. I don’t like how I look on camera, I don’t like how I sound on camera. That is more internal than anything else, and one thing that I will add on that, or I offer an argument against that is how you look and sound to yourself when you see the video, is different than how others see you. When they see you and hear you on video, they are seeing and hearing you exactly the same way they would if they were with you in person.
We have this vision of ourselves and I use the reference that you and I will be familiar with and our younger listeners won’t, but we have this vision of ourselves that we should be Walter Cronkite, or we should be Tom Brokaw, or we should be whoever else, that we should be this professional polished– No, that’s not who we are. We need to be who we are for them to like us because this relationship is going to be long-term. That’s the first thing I would offer.
Michael: Let me ask you a question about that because it does remind me of a common principle in marketing, the non-fatal flaw. I know we all learned that one from Dan. It’s like revealing a little foible of our humanity that is non-fatal. In other words, it doesn’t destroy the relationship, it actually makes us more real. Do you think perhaps there’s some advantage at least in some video situations low production for sure, slightly unpolished?
Ron: Absolutely. It’s important to do it earlier than later.
Michael: What do you mean?
Ron: It’s important to reveal that fatal flaw or fatal flaws early than later because people by human nature, we connect with people more based on people’s flaws than their perfection. We as people we want to be perfect. However, if you stop and listen to people’s conversations and whatever with one another, it’s how they wish they were doing this. They wish this was better. “I would be like to be more like that.” We connect more on our flaws with others that we have in common than we do on our perfection. My point is, do that earlier than later because it is the damaging of the mission. I’m not perfect, but again it’s what we’re communicating to people. I’m real, you can trust me.
Michael: That’s the critical thing. We can make flaws, we can fumble over our words, we can use the wrong words or make a mistake. As long as at our very core, we care about the market and the audience that we’re dealing with, we never have to worry about the trust factor.
Ron: The unconscious thing that does, understand that we’re going to turn some people off because of who we are. We’re going to turn some of them off and that’s okay, but we’re going to resonate much greater with the people that are attracted to us.
Michael: Let’s spend a second on that one, the notion of turning people off. I think again to use a Dan-ism. He had an axiom. If you’re not offending somebody by noon, you’re not doing your job. Clearly, he’s built a tremendous business and a terrific marketing empire and a lot of people don’t like him. A lot of people just love him dearly and I think he never ever wastes an ounce of mental calorie on the people that don’t like him.
Ron: We should follow that because we can’t be all things to all people and let’s face it. I’m sure you know, I know I have. I’ve had people I’ve worked with, they’ve exchanged money for my services in that and we really don’t get along and it’s not an amicable relationship.
Michael: Well, the real issue is overcoming the objections. How do I get it done, video?
Ron: Here’s how you get it done. We won’t address the mid-level and the high level production qualities and cost of that because those really involve bringing in a professional at certain levels. Let’s talk about entry-level. Somebody who hasn’t gotten into video. First of all, we all have cell phones. We all have cell phones that have pretty darn good video cameras on them. We can use those video cameras. Now, I’m not a proponent to just jump in front of a camera and start talking, but here’s what I recommend is that two things you need to understand first of all. Who is your audience and what message do you want to communicate? Those are two things that if you don’t necessarily script out what you may say, those are two things you need to give consideration before you start talking in front of the camera.
The next step is, roll on the camera, and roll not to be perfect but to capture because there’s a thing that most people don’t ever use and that’s the thing called editing. I’ll get to that in a second. But get the stuff captured. Communicate the stuff to the camera and when you’re talking to the camera, the first part we talked about is people who are uncomfortable being in front of a camera. The second thing about that and what you should be doing is think about who you’re talking to. When I say who, picture in your mind who you’d be sitting in front of. Put a face, a name to it. If it helps you, stick a picture of that person underneath the camera so that you have a face you’re talking to and not a camera you’re talking to.
Michael: That is a great suggestion.
Ron: It’s just a little trick.
Michael: Well, it’s an old copywriter’s trick. If I’m writing a long piece of copy or even a short piece, I like to think of who is my ideal audience and can I think of maybe one person that would be the toughest to convince because I want to overcome their objections and I want to excite them about my concept.
Ron: My person is a guy by the name of Don was a client and he’s the guy I always picture whether I’m writing something or on film or video because he’s the biggest critic, toughest guy. That’s who I-
Michael: If you can get Don, you got them. Okay. [chuckles]
Ron: Exactly. There’s two things. Number one, think about, first, who and what you’re going to communicate. Second of all, talk to that person. Don’t talk to a camera, just talk to them. Now you’ve got this stuff captured.
Michael: You don’t talk to the camera, talk to the person. Good point.
Ron: Yes, like you have a conversation. Now you’ve got this stuff captured and recorded and here it sits on your phone or on your video camera or whatever and now it’s going nowhere because you’re like, “What the heck do I do with it now?” You’re going to need to get that edited together and what I mean edited, I don’t necessarily mean fancy editing. One of the things we talked about for you, the majority of the time, it’s a matter of assembling it. It’s assembling the pieces together because when you shoot a video when you film a video, no television show, no film, none of it is ever filmed or recorded in one take. Just like we had with this podcast, we had a couple of takes, it’s going to need to be assembled. Understand you don’t have to get it right perfect the first time.
If you don’t communicate, take it again because we don’t film on videotape anymore, which is where I started. It’s all digital, so the media is cheap. Record it, record multiple because you want to record it with the intention that you’re going to have it edited or assembled. Now, that’s not something you want to do yourself, you do not want to do that stuff yourself.
Ron: Well, two reasons. Number one, you may not have the technical ability to do it. You may not have the resources to do it, but really the bigger issue is you can’t make $100,000 doing $10 an hour.
Michael: Got it.
Ron: That’s a big–
Michael: Where can a listener find what you’re calling– We’re not talking about a Hollywood editor. Where can we find what we’re looking for?
Ron: There’s a couple of resources that you can go to. Some of them are inexpensive but probably less trustworthy. First of all, you can go just flat-out on Craigslist or on Elance and try to put something out there for them.
Michael: Okay, or Upwork or Fiverr.
Ron: Or Fiverr or something. Those are going to be less reliable. They’re going to require you to take more effort. You may have to use– In those, it may be best to hire a couple, three.
Michael: I have used third-party vendors that I got from Upwork and had to go through more than one to find somebody that was reliable and wasn’t going to end up- either just not doing it right or moving on to the next phase of their life very quickly.
Ron: I’ll give you a resource that’s probably going to be more controllable on the people and it will ultimately be less expensive both in time you invest, money you invest as well as aggravation that you invest, but that is that in every community in the country, there is a college, university, community college or something that has some type of vocational program in television, in media, in writing, in [unintelligible 00:56:42] something and in those departments, there are young people who love this stuff.
Michael: That’s a marvelous idea.
Ron: What you want to do is and I do this all the time when I need projects, requires a little personal equity, but you go and you contact the college, the community, this university, whatever, first, and find out what departments this may be. Then you get in touch with the department head and you tell them who you are. Tell them you’re a community influencer and you do community service, and here’s what I have a need for. I need a young person who is technically savvy, who has the technology to do this and I just need some simple things put together. I don’t have the smarts or wherewithal to do it. I just need somebody to be able to assemble stuff at my direction. You can get them for free or you can get them really inexpensive.
One of the hooks is if it’s- we have a college here in the Cleveland area where they actually have a television department. I go to them and say I need somebody as a camera person or I need somebody as an editor and they’re just as happy as a pig in slop to do it just for the experience or to develop the chops and to be able to say, “I’m working with Michael Jan. He’s the leading–” So, we’re selling us but you’re able to find some really really good talent. It’s going to require a little more personal equity, a little more personal time because you’ve got to put– If you’re okay with talking to people on the phone and you’re okay with pressing the flash, I mean they’re valuable and you want to get the person who’s the department head because usually, they’re a staffer, has been there a long time and the students come and go.
Michael: Let me dig into this one for a moment. That’s a great suggestion and there’s a lot of need for that. From time to time, now I’m talking low production, like very low, from time to time, in my LinkedIn network there are a handful of- whatever they’re marketing, they could be insurance agents or they could be marketers or they could be salespeople who do seem to be– They have some discipline and some rhythm, some ritual where there’s some frequency of a video and these are not edited. They’ve gotten comfortable saying, “Okay. I’m going to push the button. I’m going to take two minutes and communicate this point of whatever, content information, inspiration,” and bam, next thing you know, they’re posting it on LinkedIn and there is nothing added, nothing taken away. How is that for you? Doable?
Michael: Okay. I mean, it’s low production.
Ron: Again, as we talked about before, this is theater. So, it has to have some production value to it. What I mean by production value is it should follow the basic formats of television. It should have some kind of an introduction. It should have some connection establishment of personality. It should then have the story or the message and then it should have a conclusion and a wrap-up and then a close. It should be wrapped in some type of television format. Even if it’s just a simple graphic opening with a little music, it gives it an identity and then we meet you. The other thing about that, if somebody’s going to do series-type videos, meaning multiples, is that at the beginning of them, you should always tell your story somehow someway.
I’ll give you an example. If people are familiar with the comic book character Batman, we all know Batman’s story. We all know his origin story, however, it doesn’t matter whether it’s the movie that George Clooney did or Val Kilmer did, it doesn’t matter, they always tell the origin story. It doesn’t have to be long, but it has to be told. The reason being is, don’t expect that every viewer has seen every episode or every piece that you’ve done.
If they’re having to catch up, they’re having to ghost-search and figure out who you are and what your value is, then you’ve made a mistake in the connection piece. It’s just a small little thing.
Michael: There then is universal consistency in the idea that, “This is where I’m coming from.”
Michael: Got it, okay.
Ron: “This is who I am and this is the value that I bring.”
Michael: Talk a little bit about the overlays where we’ll see the name and the title and maybe a headline.
Ron: What do you want to know about that?
Michael: It seems that there is some value there.
Ron: That goes to again the television format, that goes to the theater, because any video somebody sees, whether it’s on a computer, it’s on a mobile device, it’s on a tablet, it’s on television, it’s all television. It’s all TV. Those are small elements that separate the no production value to low production value, so those things or pieces are important.
For instance, if you’re doing videos you should have your name and title on there which we call a lower-third super post, because what it does is– Think about if you’re watching television and you follow a particular morning news broadcast and all of a sudden, one morning, there’s a new face that you don’t know, and they don’t put a name up, you don’t know who they are.
Their name gives them personality, it gives them identity. It doesn’t matter you don’t know them, but, “Oh, now, I know their name.” Again it’s the step by step piece in building relationships.
Michael: Let me ask you another question about this low production video, what seems to be current best practice, intriguing and attractive, and I’ve seen it a million times, I’ve done it myself, and it does seem to be taught by some video coaches which is that particularly at the beginning, the character- in this case, let’s say I’m doing a video, should be moving. An easy way to do this is with the good old fashioned selfie stick, maybe held somewhat above you.
I’ve done some videos where I’m moving on the walkway to the casita and I’m introducing my topic. Then I do an edit or really an assembly and boom, now I’m in the casita doing a little bit of training, does that make sense?
Ron: It does.
Michael: That sense of motion seems to be incredibly eye-catching.
Ron: It gives a sense of action. It’s not a still shot, there is some momentum. It gives it interest. I’ll take it a step further with what you had talked about, there’s a couple of key things that are psychological in the shot. For instance, you mentioned about having a selfie stick high, really what you should do is a selfie stick should be high, it should be just above your eye level.
Generally when I film something, I’m filming just above the presenter’s eye level. What it does is it communicates to the viewer just a little bit of superiority as they are above you. If you really want to get technical, you really want to leverage psychology, as you progress through the video and as you build value, you build authority and so forth, that perspective starts to drop. The viewer’s perspective starts to drop towards now just below your eye level, so now you have superiority over them.
Michael: Okay. At the beginning, then the speaker is not haughty or arrogant, right? There’s this little sense of humility and authenticity. When the rapport is developed, they then take a position of authority.
Michael: Got it, okay. Fascinating.
Ron: That’s for you and me. If we were Tony Robbins, that would have an entirely different perspective because people have a perception of who he is already and what his personality is. If we’re trying to establish– That’s just a small little thing and no video guy is going to tell you about that, but that is again communication. That is communication on a subliminal level. It’s just a little tidbit.
Michael: All right. Any other final words of advice on getting it done and making it easy for our listeners?
Ron: Really the only part that you need to have involvement on this video is you need to be planning what you’re going to communicate and you need to record it. You may not want to record yourself, you may just want to have an office person or something, but again these are some guide points. Those are really the only things you need to be involved in.
Try to remove yourself from all the other pieces because you can guide it, play producer of the thing, as long as you find a person. When you find the right people or the right person to do this, they’ll start being able to add things into it that you hadn’t even thought, which are the theater stuff.
One of the things that I as far as the department in a college or– Don’t necessarily always look to go to communication, you can always look to go to the theater department because they’re creative people and they can bring a level– We’re business people, we tend to be dry, we tend to be content-oriented in that, whereas dramatic people can bring– That’s why guys like Stephen Spielberg or George Lucas and whatever are really really good because they bring a creative aspect. They bring a storytelling aspect that they may be able to see and add into it. I’m not saying we can’t, I’m getting off track, but the big thing is, how much of it can you take yourself out of it? Because you want to stay focused on the end goal. As I said, you can’t make 100 grand, you can’t make $500,000 doing $10 an hour work.
Michael: Got it. Ron, if any of our listeners have questions– I know that you are busy and you’re not the answer man for everybody’s video question, but if somebody has some serious questions, they want to learn more, perhaps want to reach out to you, or perhaps they have an interest in having an expert videographer helping them with some production, how can people find you?
Ron: The easiest way, and it’s really easy to remember is they can go to www.askronsheetz.com.
Michael: Once again, Sheetz is S-H-E-E-T-Z?
Ron: Yes, askronsheetz. When they get there, they’re just going to get a page where they can put in their email address and they put in their question. That all comes to me and I answer it all within 24 hours.
Michael: All right, beautiful. Ron, this has been a masterclass in video. I really, really appreciate it. One final thing I should say, to tag on to your closing comments a moment or two ago, in addition to getting it done, if we can refer back to the mere-exposure effect, doing one video, especially a low production video with a short shelf life, throwing it on LinkedIn and then never doing it again is not a good use of time. A good use of time is making some commitment to it and turning it into a business discipline. There’s got to be some frequency.
Ron: If it’s LinkedIn, if it’s YouTube with a link in an email or so forth, but think about this, don’t think about it as LinkedIn, don’t think about it as YouTube and so forth, but think about it as your broadcast network. Think about it as your broadcast TV station that reaches out to people and communicates. You are Oprah Winfrey who are building an audience, building a herd that you attract and communicate with, and the ones that like you will stay. The ones that don’t like you will go away, and that’s fine because the ones that don’t like you aren’t going to spend money with you anyhow.
Michael: They’re not going to spend money anyway. In part, are you suggesting that perhaps that one video can be re-purposed through multiple platforms?
Ron: Absolutely. [crosstalk]
Michael: Facebook and LinkedIn and Instagram perhaps, depending on how you’re using these platforms and email and it could be part of your YouTube channel and so on and so forth.
Ron: To give you an example on that, we never maximize what we got. We never maximize what we got. There’s a book I wrote that specifically deals with what people know as testimonials I refer to them as stories, client stories, or case studies. I wrote a book on that and in the book, I share 33 different ways to be able to leverage one video.
Michael: What’s the name of the book and how can people get it?
Ron: The book is actually was written for the dental world, however it is applicable across the testimonials, the testimonial, the testimonial, and the name of the book is Your Patient Attraction Secret Weapon.
Michael: Where is it available?
Ron: It can be found on Amazon or if you go to my website, which is bookontestimonial.com/getyourcopy.html. I’ll say that again because it’s a mouthful. Unfortunately, it’s all got to be in there www.bookontestimonials.com/getyourcopy.html. If you go there and you order it, you get also what you won’t get at Amazon is you’ll get a 47 minutes fast start video of me on how to implement and how to get going on studies or testimonials fast. There’s a lot of ways. I talk about it in the video.
Michael: Ron, this has been a masterclass. I really appreciate you being so generous with your expertise, so thank you. Look forward to seeing you at our next meeting in the casita and as always, it’s been a pleasure.
Ron: Thank you, sir.
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